A Venetian gondola in Africa

Trip Start Mar 17, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Botswana  ,
Saturday, January 19, 2008

We arrive at the Audi camp, only 5 minutes late. The drive to the Okavango Delta is supposed to take 1,5 hours. But that is OK, I'll sleep in my air-conditioned van. Dr T points an open primitive vehicle out at the camp: he must be kidding! He is not. We meet Carrie and Duncan: Australian and South-African couple. Very nice people. Carrie has great legs. Great legs are rare. AND: we can camouflage and pretend a lot but not legs. They are nice of not. 

Two women and a little boy at the side of the road are waiting for a ride. The driver asks us whether they can come. Sure. This is done all over (South-)Africa. People sit at the side of the road, waiting for a lift. Sometimes (like one of these woman here) with everything but the kitchen sink! We read those people pay a fixed fee, equal to a bus fee, if there was a bus. Sometimes, it is like car pooling. Going to and from work, the same people need a lift and the same people have a car. We do not take people if we are on our own. It can be dangerous. But, I feel guilty to leave a young girl with a baby in the rain... .

The woman with the boy stays with us for an hour. And then gets out in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. With an enormous amount of groceries. She is probably the unofficial shop of the town. Luckily she got the ride, not a lot of people drive this way. Dr T points out it was probably pre-arranged. Even could be his mum.

The 1,5 hours turn to be 2 hours, the last half hour over muddy roads. We see the 'other kind' of zebras. The ones we san so far have stripes in 2 colours, black and brown. These only have black stripes. And they knot. Really they do!

When we arrive at the place the Mokoro leaves, I am surprised: it all looks very primitive. People just arrive back from the tour but they stayed the night in the jungle. A very wet night. And they do not look very happy! The first minutes, I am terrified. The boar floods 5 centimetres above the water. It will sink! It will collapse! Not really healthy for our camera and mobile. Gillian, our poler, tells us all about the poling, the nature, the grass, the game.  He has a pole with which he pushes us forwards. It is a hard job in this temperatures. He is very knowledgeable and his English is remarkably good. Still, the best moments are the silent ones. The water with plants and birds around it, is pretty. And it is a peaceful sail, about an hour.

Then, Gillian takes us for a hike. Explaining everything about the herbs, plants and animals. We see a hippo, zebras and giraffes. It is another sensation to WALK next to those animals. 1,h hours later, we are back at our Mokoro. We got a lunch at the camp. We do have a problem: we have no drinks. And, of course, it is hot. Somebody told us the drinks are included. We should know better after 10 months than to leave without water! I have not been so thirsty in YEARS. It truly is a horrible feeling. And then, then Duncan is my hero: he gives me his bottle of water. No beer, no J&B with coke in the world can taste as good as that water! Unfortunately I drink half of it by the time I realise my hubby is as thirsty as I am but saves some water for the ride back. Luckily the sail back is upstream and only takes half an hour. Ride back is 2 hours, no occasion to buy water.

Back in the camp, we attack the bar, with Carrie and Duncan. They also took a break from work aqnd travel around. And they rented a camper, which we were thinking of! Theirs does not have tents on the roof but is more like a mobile home. They show us. We start doubting again. Should we? Little kitchen, double bed, ... .

We go shopping and internetting in our hotel. Only one computer with a dial up line: sigh.

This time, the restaurant gets my food right in one hit. They still remember me from last night and smile.

We are leaving tomorrow!
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